So close

Its not every season that my MOS hockey team makes the finals.  Well, that isn’t really true because we have made the finals 3 out of the 4 seasons I have been with them.  The previous 2 times we won the title.  This year we came up a bit short in a 5-4 loss.  As normal, its always good to decompress a bit before I blog about the game because it was a hotly contested game for sure.  We had 3-1 and then 4-2 leads in this game, and with 10 minutes left in the 3rd, I thought we had this game in hand.  The opposing team had something to say about it though.  After we gave up a shorthanded 2 on 1 goal and then one of my own defensemen put the puck past me, it was tied up.  Then off a rebound that I probably should have had, we lost the game in the last minute.

The only complaint I had was the reffing, which was not good.  We spent probably 1/2 the 3rd period on the penalty kill, while the other team was penalized once.  I am not blaming the refs in the least for the loss.  I believe I could and should have played better than I did.  At the same time though, spending half the period in the box was a killer, and giving up a shorthanded goal off a really good passing play wasn’t helpful either.

Either way, I go into the summer thinking about another near miss.  I have 3 ice hockey championships, and I have had more than a few opportunities to win my final game only to come up a little short.

Oh so close once again…..

Afterwards, my team was very positive, even when I was feeling pretty down.  Now, 2 hours after the game is over, I am still a little upset but not like I was.  I really did play a solid game even though we didn’t come out on the winning end.  The rebound goal in the final minute was horrid, but I made a couple solid saves, like a diving glove save that I made in the 2nd period to keep the game tied.

For as much as I want to say that I was the weak link, I didn’t lose the game tonight.

This summer should be a good season.  We now get an opportunity to come back and make something happen.  I look forward to another opportunity to win a championship.

We are moving on!

I was nervous.  I has been a while since I was this nervous.  I went into the game focused and I didn’t want to make a mistake.  My defense played solid in front of me, and we won by a final of 7-2.

We took a quick 2-0 lead, but the other team had their chances.  They just missed capitalizing on a few chances on far side passes.  They finally connected on one to cut the lead to 1.  In the second period we took a 3-1 lead and then they got a deflection a couple minutes later to close the gap to 1.

Little did I know that was as close as they would get…..

Team MOS played solid the rest of the way.  Every shot I faced for the rest of the game were either in my glove or went off me and I covered.  My rebound control was much better than it has been in a long time.  Before I knew it, it was 6-2 and we were in firm control midway through the 3rd.

The opposing team’s best chance in the 3rd came on a play in front of the next.  The shot came in and hit me, and one of the opposing players slashed me in the face not once but twice.  The puck did make its way past me and into the back of the net, but the ref called it off.  One of the opposing players got chucked for abuse of officials and that was the end of the game for the most part.

Overall, I was pleased with the way I played, but I know I am going to have to play better.  The first place team won their game and they are going to bring the fire next week in the championship game.  If my team does the same thing next week, and I play solid, then I feel good about our chances.

I just keep remembering how I had a few chances to win my first ice hockey championship years ago, and I came up short for one reason or another.  When I joined team MOS, we won in the summer and then in the fall.  For 2 of the last 3 seasons, we have won our respective league championship.  I get another opportunity to do it again.

I can’t let this opportunity pass me by.

It all comes down to this

I really do enjoy playoff hockey.  After a long season, all my teams are either in playoff tournaments or have just completed them.  One of my teams is already out, while 3 others are in for their various playoff tournaments.  Back in the day, I was all about playoff hockey.  It was a make or break time for me, and I had a lot of success in playoffs as a result.  It wasn’t all me mind you.  Mainly because I had great performances but I had a share of bad ones as well.  You still remember the good times a lot more than the bad ones.  This is true of any team sport I have ever played.

Yet, this time around I am more nervous than anything else.  It has been a full year since I lifted a championship trophy.  My team isn’t an odds on favorite to win, and being 41 doesn’t quite make things easier for me.  While I am a decent goalie, I am by far not stellar, and there are many stellar goalies out there that can steal games better than I can.  Being a little nervous is a good thing for me to be honest.  It means I will be more attentive and focused on the puck.  It also means that I will be very focused on my mistakes if I make any.  Rebounding from those mistakes will be key.

Here is to hoping that everything falls into place for my first game tonight.  If I play solid tonight, then I should be mentally ready for Saturday.

Disappointing Finish

When it comes to playoffs, I have always made a note on my calendar to really put an emphasis on these games.  These are the games that I feel can make or break a team.  Winning playoff games can bring a team together.  Especially if it has been a tough year.  I also feel they make or break a goalie as well.  Key wins in playoff games can really do a lot for a goalie’s confidence.  My Tuesday night team played their first playoff game on Tuesday and we lost 4-1.  Two of those goals were empty netters, but the other two were far side shots.  One hit the far post and went in.  The other hit the far post and went top corner.  The story of the game wasn’t the two goals I let in, because they were very good shots.  The real story was our inability to score or the other goalie who seemed to stop everything that was shot in his direction.  The only goal we got was an easy tap in on the far side of the net after a bounce went our way.  Aside from that, every shot he faced, he stopped.

After that game was over, I was more than a little bummed out.  I knew deep down inside that we were a long shot to win a title this season, but I knew that we were better than that team.  We just couldn’t score more than 1 goal.  You have to score more than 1 to win a game in most circumstances.  Needless to say, bowing out in the first round is not a high note to end on.

I really have to pick up my game before my Thursday team plays their first playoff game in 2 weeks.